More sunset

We walked out of a store late Tuesday evening and saw a wonderful sky.


I made these shots bigger than I usually do, so clicking on them should give you a larger image.

As usual, I had only my iPhone, so this is another phone shot. This sky deserved a panorama, but unfortunately when I started the pano on the left, it exposed for a relatively dark sky, which resulted in gross overexposure for the brighter parts of the sky. It’s a shame the shot has to include parking lot lights, but there was no way to avoid them or the power lines in the foreground.

This was what we saw a few minutes later on Huffaker Road.


I couldn’t get enough of the sky to show all the different types of clouds that were present. When you see this kind of sunset, or any type of landscape, your mind combines all the views into an overall mental image. You can see part of the scene through a gap in the trees are you drive, and another part a few hundred yards down the road. Your mind puts it all together and you can imagine what the entire sky looks like. Trying to get that mental image into a camera can be frustrating.

A few days ago we went up to the top of the mountain to see whether we could get a better view of the sunset. Up there the sun was setting in line with the ridge, so we could not actually see the sun. I thought maybe there would be a better view if we went down into Texas Valley. Tuesday evening we did that. There isn’t. The trees are so close to the road that they obscure the sky.

Thursday sunset crepuscular rays

A quick grab with my phone camera caught this sunset Thursday evening as we drove home from picking up some prescriptions.


This type of photo is hard to get right because of the high contrast. The phone did a reasonable job, but it had trouble capturing the shadows of the some of the clouds.

We drove up to the top of the mountain hoping to get a better view, but the sun was setting along the ridge, so it was pretty much hidden. The clouds were gone by then anyway.

I think we could get a better view of the sunset if we went down into Texas Valley. Maybe we’ll try that one day.

Spider constellation

Wolf spiders are common around here, as well as in most of the rest of the world. Around this time of year I often see them at night, running across the concrete part of our driveway. Wednesday night when I took the dogs out for their last walk of the day, they immediately spotted one. I noticed it looked a little fuzzy.


It was fuzzy because of the dozens of baby spiders riding piggy-back. According to Wikipedia, wolf spiders are the only spider that carry their young on their back until the babies are able to fend for themselves.

Wolf spiders may be the only spider that carry their young on their backs, but there are other arachnids that do the same thing. When I lived in Alabama, I once killed a scorpion in my house, only to see dozens of little baby scorpions scatter across the floor.

Since wolf spiders are generally nocturnal hunters, and since their eyes are reflective, I can usually spot many, many spiders out in the yard at night by shining my flashlight over the ground. Every spider eye that the beam hits looks like a glowing green jewel.

And so do their babies’ eyes.


Some of my other shots showed more glowing eyes, but they were too blurred to use. I was shooting at night with the flash, which is what their eyes reflected, but it was hard to get a good, sharp shot.

Tail recovery

Sylvester’s tail seems to be making a comeback. I chased him around the house Wednesday night trying to get a good picture of how he’s holding his tail now, and this was the best I got.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, he seemed unable to hold his tail up in a normal position. We were afraid he had broken it, but our vet said he might have only a sprain. That was about two weeks ago. He can now hold his tail almost upright. That’s an encouraging sign.

I suppose we’ll never know how he sprained it.

Ticks for the memories

It’s tick season in Georgia. We give the dogs and cats flea and tick treatments, but they still get them. Here’s one on Zeke’s inner leg. I think this is an American dog tick, which is common in the eastern US and in much of California.


This one is sleeping in the septic tank right now.

I have picked several off Zeke in the last month or so and two or three off myself. Leah has found some on herself, too. The flea and tick treatment is supposed to kill them after they bite, but so far I have found only live ticks. One night a few weeks ago I felt a little tickle on my back after I went to bed. I jumped up (memories of lying on a scorpion) and threw the covers back, but I didn’t see anything. I was pretty sure it was a tick, though. I went back to bed and waited. After a few minutes I felt a tickle (a tickle is not necessarily a small tick, although in this case it was) again, and this time I grabbed it.

When I was a graduate student in Atlanta I lived near Northside Drive, which at some points in the city is highway 41 (rolling down which I was not born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus). Almost every afternoon when I came home from school, I would take my dog Jesse a couple of blocks away to a vacant, weed-covered area where she chased rabbits and imaginary creatures for about an hour. In the summer, when we came back home I would fill a glass with hot water with a little detergent, and we would sit in the driveway while I picked ticks off of her. I would put them into the water, where they would sink slowly to the bottom of the glass and die. Detergent is a surfactant, or wetting agent, which prevents the ticks from floating on the surface.

From what I have read, this is not supposed to be a particularly bad tick season, but one tick is too many.